JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
_Robert from Oneonta _
I would like to pick your brain further on the part-time linebacker subject. The Jags need to be careful in their approach to this situation. The part-timer needs to be as good as the full-timers. Professional sports teams are very good at spotting weaknesses in their opponents. They spend a lot of time, energy and money trying to find these opportunities for each game. A perceived or actual weakness at the part-time linebacker spot could turn that player/position into a near full-time linebacker, with the opposing team using personnel and formation packages to keep that player/position on the field to exploit that failing. I keep seeing this part-time player as a reason to not go get the best player available. I understand the salary-cap considerations, but with Myles Jack possibly not playing in his optimal position, maybe this is not the place to scrimp? Please, your thoughts?
My first thought is Myles Jack will be absolutely fine playing middle linebacker, and that the Jaguars won't have to worry about much on that front. His skill set will be fine in the middle – and he's ready for the play-calling, between-play aspect of the position. Second thought: while "part time" has been used to describe the Jaguars' strong-side linebacker in this space and others, that's more of a way for observers – including myself – to discuss the situation. That's because it can get confusing detailing how the Jaguars use linebackers in base defenses, nickel situations, etc. While it's true that the strong-side linebacker plays about 30-to-35 percent of the plays in the NFL these days, the Jaguars realize the importance of the position – and if they didn't believe second-year veteran Blair Brown could play it, they would have addressed it this offseason. Remember, too: This isn't fantasy football. You can't simply fill every position/vacancy with a veteran free agent every offseason. You must draft and develop, and sometimes you play inexperienced players you have drafted who haven't yet played a role. Sometimes these players won't be known to outsiders and you must know you have drafted well enough to allow that player to play. That's what the Jaguars must do with Brown.
Jami from Wye Mills, MD
Is it just me or does the website look different?
It's you. Nothing to see here.
Ruben from Jacksonville
Do you see the Jaguars letting Jalen Ramsey travel more? I know we have two great cornerbacks – and not to try to knock on A.J. Bouye, but he seems to struggle against elite speed and quickness. See big plays made by Brandin Cooks of New England and Antonio Brown of Pittsburgh in the playoffs while he was on them. Pittsburgh in particular seemed to adjust when they started coming back and the Jaguars finally put Ramsey on Antonio Brown and he wasn't heard from much after that. ... I love Bouye, but Ramsey's just in a different class.
The Jaguars do have Ramsey cover the opponent's best receiver one-on-one all over the field a lot. I expect them to continue to having Ramsey cover the opponent's best receiver one-on-one all over the field a lot moving forward. I don't expect them to employ this defense all the time because you can't employ any one defensive approach all the time; offenses will find ways to exploit your approach if you do so. Ramsey is so good that whenever Bouye allows a reception the question is going to be why wasn't Ramsey covering the receiver, but Bouye also is an All-Pro and Ramsey gave up a play here and there last season, too. The Jaguars will utilize Ramsey plenty. He will be featured in the defense. But to think they're never going to have Bouye cover an elite receiver is to think they won't use their talent where they should. That wouldn't be a wise approach.
Steve from Duval
Hey, O: I think I've figured it out. If you formulate a long question or get a long answer or both, you won't be interrupted by an ad. Since this is a short question, can you give a long answer to prove my theory?
You haven't quite figured it out, but the "ad thing" on jaguars.com and in the O-Zone isn't exactly a state secret. The NFL's current website structure is such that there's an ad every five paragraphs. It's a noticeable problem in the O-Zone, because in this format it considers Name/hometown one paragraph, the question one paragraph and the answer another paragraph. That means a ton of advertisements in a question-answer format. Our people are trying to work with the league to address the issue. It's moving at what feels like a slow pace. We're hoping the pace quickens. Stay tuned.
Big on Blake from Philly
Thanks for posting my question. It's helping my grassroots movement to convince the world that Blake Bortles is truly a starting-caliber and greater quarterback talent. I'm excited to see this year play out, and crazy as it seems, this team has a shot to make history this year. I look forward to your coverage. Go Jags.
I am the king of all funk.
J.P. from Jacksonville
I heard a rumor that you're calling yourself "The King of Funk." I had to check for myself – and sure enough, it is true. Let it be known to all of your readers that you are an imposter, for I am the King of Funk, and there's not room for two of us in Funkytown. It's going to take a lot more than some daily column in a fancy new website to usurp this crown. You have been warned.
I am the king of all funk.
Steve from the Sunroom Couch
John, please for the love of God stop with the "king of funk" stuff. Go ahead and tell me to stay in my lane but you're embarrassing yourself, which is fine, but think of your wife and kid.
I am the king of all funk. They believe therefore they are the queen and prince of all funk. Actually, they're not. But I am the king of all funk. And stay in your lane.
Augie from Alpharetta, GA
Does the new kickoff rule effect onside kicks in terms of having a balance of players across the line? In other words, no stacking the line of scrimmage on one side or the other.
That's correct. The NFL's new kickoff rule mandates that five players on the kicking team line up on each side of the ball prior to a kick. That is in effect on all kickoffs, including onside kicks. It promises to make the onside kick more interesting because teams can no longer stack one side and force the receiving team off the ball by outnumbering a certain receiving player. But it should make the play safer, which is after the all the whole idea.
Jesse from Layton
Yes, a lot of talk regarding kneeling has taken place that otherwise would not since players started kneeling. However, I have not seen one article or discussion regarding the social injustice the players are trying to bring awareness to. We are just more aware that players are kneeling. It is their right, and honestly it doesn't matter much to me if they kneel or not; it actually is more upsetting to me that players are trying to bring awareness to a bad situation, but going about it in a way that is actually worse than doing nothing at all. Something that nearly every single person could be behind has become a divisive situation where some people are opposed to their protest. Sadly, welcome to modern America.
There actually have been plenty of stories and discussion about why players kneel, though those stories by their nature tend to be longer and take more time to think through; therefore, they tend to get drowned out by the roar of quick-trigger reaction that quite naturally came when the players knelt. What is right or wrong in this issue – and what actions are worse than others – depends on your side of the issue. But yeah … it's divisive. And it's an issue that probably isn't going away anytime soon.
Alan from Jacksonville
When DJ Chark has his first big game, I've got the headline: Chark Attack! You can pass that along to Gene Frenette in case he needs a little salt and pepper for his articles.
Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist Gene Frenette's genius goes far beyond his obvious way with words. He also is a musical prodigy (woodwinds – mainly though not exclusively) and one of Northeast Florida's most talented surfers and skateboarders (anything emphasizing balanced fluidity), in addition to being known for growing and canning some of the area's finest backyard produce (mm-, mm-, yummy…). I share this not to unnecessarily embarrass this humble man of the people, but to make the point that he'll come up with his own #$%&*$# headlines, Thank You Very Much!!